Friday, April 18, 2014

The Passage back

It has been a long time since we have written up a report. It is not that we haven’t been thinking about you, it just that we have been so busy!

After leaving Marsh Harbor, we sailed around The Whale and anchored off of No Name Cay, one of my favorite places from last year. We dinghied into the lagoon, but unlike last year did not see an octopus or a turtle or really anything. I still like it! We found a place to beach and walk over to the ocean side. Lots of stuff washed up, but mostly plastic garbage. It was still fun! We then walked the beach on the Abaco side to pick up a conch shell. There were tons of them last year, none this year. It is still one of my favorite places!

The forecast had been for several days of benign weather, so our plan was to do some island hopping as we worked our way north and west for the crossing over the gulf stream back to Florida. However, when we checked the weather the next morning, the forecast had changed dramatically-strong winds from a totally different direction. We headed to Green Turtle Cay. We decided to splurge and tie up at the Leeward Yacht Club rather than pick up a mooring ball.  It wasn’t as much of a splurge as we anticipated. Since I had not had a real shower since leaving the states, it was worth the extra cost. It turned out that it was only about ten dollars more than the mooring balls. Our dock neighbors were friendly and helpful, the shower was great, the pool was beautiful. We didn’t use the pool, go the restaurant or use the laundry, but we would certainly go there again!

We had heard there was going to be a grilled steak or chicken dinner fund raiser for the school on Sat. night, so we walked the mile or so around to the basketball court. I think the cruisers are the main attendees, but we had grilled steak, baked potato, corn, coleslaw and, wait for it….Guava Duff! Let me try to describe guava duff to those who have not had any. I think that the dough is maybe steamed and was somewhere between cake and biscuit.  There were a few pieces of guava in the dough. It was topped with chopped guava in Cream Cheese(?) or maybe Whipped Cream. It was so sweet and rich that a few bites were enough for me at any one time.  I nibbled on mine for a couple days.

The next morning, we checked the weather again and the report was favorable for the passage for the next two and a half days, then not so good for the foreseeable future. After much discussion and figuring out how long it would take and what time we wanted to arrive in Fort Pierce, we pulled away around 10:00 AM to go straight through.

The wind was still pretty brisk and we sailed with just the genoa, and that was partially furled some of the time. As we approached Great Sale Cay, a popular spot for boats to anchor before or after a crossing, we heard some other boats heading our way. We gradually caught up to them and all of left left the Bahamas bank around 3 AM. The wind died, as was predicted. With little wind and moderate seas, the sail wouldn’t stay full. We turned on the iron genny to save undo wear and tear. We arrived at the entrance to Fort Pierce earlier than we had hoped. Last year we came in as the tide was going out and it was the worst experience I have ever had on this boat. We were an hour to an hour and a half early, so the tide was still going out. In our wisdom (or lack thereof), we figured that it was close enough to slack that braving the entrance wouldn’t be too bad. We were right, it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t too good either! Again, it was the worst part of the trip.

When doing a long passage we take turns at the helm in two hour watches, steering and watching over the boat. (did Reggie mention the autopilot died?) For some reason, neither one of us had been able to sleep during the passage. Once we dropped the anchor around 3 PM on Monday we crashed!

We have not moved “Submit” from where we anchored upon arrival.  Riverside Marina, where we will put Submit to bed has no slips available and we are not scheduled to be pulled until the 23rd.  The weather has not been great, windy and rainy and the water is not nearly as pretty, but time on the boat is pretty much the same. We have taken the dingy to town twice. Once to visit the marina, check in at the airport and have lunch. Today we dinghied in again to join for lunch some friends we met in Warderick Wells. The rest of the time we have been working on boat projects, reading, playing cards, etc.

Over the years we have accumulated many things we needed or might need. For the last couple of days we have gone through EVERY storage area. We had four piles. 1. Go to the garbage, yes, we have been hauling stuff that is best thrown away. There is a big black garbage sack and a 5 gallon bucket. 2. Give away. There is a large plastic bin and 5 gallon bucket, both over flowing. 3. Take home.  A large plastic bin, also over flowing. 4. Re-stow.  Next time we are back on Submit, I bet we will want something from pile 1, 2 or 3. Reggie will just look at me, shrug and say, “You wanted to get rid of it.” In my defense, it is going to be so much easier to find what we do have.

The pork chops sizzle in the skillet. The thunder storm blows past without getting to us.  The wine is poured.  The sun sets. We swing lazily at anchor.  Life is good.

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